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Defense 14​ wins in Saint Louis

NTEU Wins More Awards Money, Medical Telework Exemption


NTEU negotiators won additional funding for a variety of awards programs and an important temporary medical exception from reporting requirements for teleworkers as the union and the IRS wrapped up mid-term reopener bargaining on portions of the NTEU-IRS contract. The new provisions are effective on Oct. 1, 2024.



NTEU sought and won an increase in funding for NPAA performance awards raising the awards budget from 2 percent of the total bargaining unit salaries (prior fiscal year) to 2.25 percent. NTEU estimates that will add roughly $10 million per year to performance awards funding beginning in fiscal year 2025.


Bilingual awards will increase to $850 per year from $750 and will now also be available to sign language interpreters.


Additionally, the effective date of QSIs will be closer to the date on which employees rated Outstanding receive their annual appraisal. QSIs will now be awarded at seven intervals throughout the fiscal year, rather than delaying them until the first quarter of the following fiscal year. The prolonged delay effectively stalled QSIs up to 10 months for some employees.



Teleworkers will be able to seek and be approved for a temporary medical telework exception. Under this process, an employee may request that the POD reporting requirement be waived where an injury or other medical condition prevents them from traveling into the office.


Other Items

Other items opened at the mid-term table included hoteling and space bargaining, grievance procedures and time for NTEU chapter leaders and stewards to represent employees. In all cases, NTEU held firm to ensuring that employee rights and protections remained.


The Bargaining Team

The NTEU bargaining team was critical to the successful negotiations. NTEU thanks them for their hard work and long hours over many weeks. The team included Lorie McCann (Chapter 10), Terry Scott (Chapter 26), and Jason Sisk (Chapter 97), who served as permanent members; and Brian Norton (Chapter 24), Patricia Allen (Chapter 32), Roger Hammons (Chapter 39), Autherine Wilson (Chapter 47), William Larkin (Chapter 62), Shannon Ellis (Chapter 66), Beth Willwerth (Chapter 68), Dulce Hernandez (Chapter 92), Gibson Jones (Chapter 98), and Lorena Montan (Chapter 193), who served as rotating members. They were assisted by Ken Moffett, Director of Negotiations, and National Negotiators Aliza Chesler and Jack Jarrett.

The Decision


Although the arbitrator brought the agency’s argument of having a limited number of hours, there was still a ruling to make the harmed employees whole (resolution). The arbitrator found that this topic was covered by the National Agreement and by the 1999 Customer Service Agreement. The union argued in the alternative that the overtime caps were an inequitable distribution of overtime under the agreements because it ignored seniority in OT assignments. The arbitrator agreed, citing the parties’ understanding that honoring seniority was a factor in equitable distribution. IRS appealed the arbitrator’s decision with the FLRA, but lost. He saw the high senior employees as the ones who were harmed. Buying the agency’s argument that there were a limited amount of hours, he ruled that had the lower senior people not been allowed to work, the higher senior people would have earned more. The settlement agreement had to be based on that ruling. Because the arbitrator decided that senior employees were deprived of overtime opportunities based on the agency’s limitation of overtime for everyone, those employees had to be made whole consistent with the arbitrator’s ruling. Those senior employees who worked the most amount of overtime in 2010, were identified as the affected class of employees, since they were the most likely to have worked more overtime if provided the opportunity; however, that opportunity was denied based on management’s failure to distribute overtime contemplating seniority. The result of this award is that the IRS will pay over 4,400 hours to over eighty (80) employees at their 2010 overtime rate. Chapter 14 would like to give a special Thank You to Stewards Ellen Reis and Patrick Patton for doing the initial work on this grievance so we could move it on to arbitration for this awesome Victory!

The Case


As you are aware this case was taken to arbitration. Our argument was that the OT assignments should have been done based on language in the contract and the CSA at that time, which was by seniority. We also argued that there were no set number of hours and never had been. The call site always let all volunteers work regardless of when their tour of duty ended, and still did even under this two hour rule. The only time there was a limit on the number of people who could work was on Saturdays. So why wouldn’t the person who gets off at 4pm not be able to work 4 hours of OT when we’re open until 8pm? Or why couldn’t the person who got off at 6 work until 8 and still work Saturday too? Someone had to do it, the hours still had to be paid. What right did management have in limiting your OT hours? The phone demand was there, which management could not deny. However, management did deny that they had always let everyone work. They also denied that it wasn’t an unlimited amount of hours for the OT, but yet they could never come up with a specific amount.

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